Idea House Infuses Cottage Style with Modern Touches

by WOHe

Idea House Infuses Cottage Style with Modern

by Anita Shaw

WATER MILL, NY Marrying the vintage look of the Cotswold cottage
with modern amenities was the task at hand when creating the
kitchen in the 2004 Hamptons Cottages & Gardens Idea House. The
kitchen was a highlight of the new 6,500-sq.-ft. estate located on
three acres here. More than 5,000 guests toured the home through
June 26, 2004, with donations going to local charities.

“The client and I wanted to make a courtyard house based on the
Cotswold cottage look from England, which is a very traditional
style,” affirms Andrew Pollock of Andrew Pollock Architect, the
architect of the showhouse. “Since we were doing something in the
21st century, this home is a very modern interpretation of that.
It’s very clean, and includes a lot of things that make that style
wonderful stucco, trellis work and, of course, courtyards. The
kitchen kind of continued this idea.”

Working with interior designer Paul Siskin of Siskin Valls Inc.
and Jeff Boico of Classic Kitchen and Bath, Pollock set about
creating a kitchen that would reflect the style of the home.

Pollock reports that in working with Classic Kitchen and Bath,
the overall look of the room took on a more modern style than
anticipated. However, “we just incorporated the modern as a further
abstraction of the style of the house,” he states. Modern elements
include skylights, exposed structural steel ties extending from the
20-foot ceiling, a titanium and stainless steel sink, stainless
steel appliances, cabinetry in a rich walnut finish with brushed
stainless steel trim and wire brushed granite countertops and

The Hearth of the Home
The first element
tackled in the kitchen was what was to be the room’s main focus a
big central hearth. “The kitchen should have a central hearth,”
Pollock notes, reporting that in times past, the domestic help
normally cooked in the kitchen fireplace.

He reports that he reinterpreted the central hearth, placing a
48″ Thermador range in a large, streamlined arched alcove. The
range became the focal point of the kitchen, serving as an anchor
for the long kitchen table and other elements of the room. New
design details such as a signature, oversized temperature gauge
contribute to the overall clean, individual look. The range is
topped with the Thermador Professional Series 48″ Ventilation

Pollock placed a large central island opposite the hearth to
help balance the large room and make it more functional. To keep
the work triangle smaller, the sink and refrigerator were pulled
back toward the hearth on either side. Sub-Zero refrigerator
drawers were then placed in the island, along with a second sink,
to provide a second work triangle on the other side of the

“There is a sink on either side, a big stand-up refrigerator on
one side and refrigerator drawers in the island on the other side
of the aisle. So, two chefs can work pretty well in there,” he
reports. Two dishwashers are also part of the triangles.

“Most of the cooking is being done on the hearth side, while the
other side is more for plating and prepping for a formal party in
the dining room,” he adds. For regular, non-entertaining days,
there are stools at the far end of the island for less formal
family dining.

Maintaining the Warmth
The choice of cabinets
was critical to providing the overall ambiance of the room. “Since
it is a very clean, modern kitchen, we didn’t want to lose the
warmth,” stresses Pollock. Therefore, custom cabinets in a rich
chocolate brown from Neff Kitchens were used to add warmth. To
blend with the stainless steel of the appliances and the room’s
other metal elements, the cabinets are framed in a brushed
stainless steel.

The cabinetry features all of the latest bells and whistles,
according to Pollock, including touch closures and drawers with
built-in knife blocks and silverware dividers. Corner cabinets
feature slide-out trays for optimum use of space.

Topping the cabinets are wire brushed granite countertops from
Artistic Tiles. The Kashmir granite countertops are thermal
finished and then smoothed with a wire wheel to give them a rough,
stone-like finish. “It’s smooth enough so that plates don’t chip,”
reports Pollock. “It makes the granite look like stone instead of
glass, but it can still be cleaned and it resists stains.”

The very light, almost white finish is infused with garnet, “so
it has some grays and some little red spots,” he reports.

The backsplash is a tile version of the same stone that was used
in slab, Pollock adds.

The very tall ceilings made skylights a tempting option, and the
natural daylight that streams from them comes straight down onto
the hearth and the island. For added illumination, four large
fixtures were hung over the island from the highest ridge. Ceiling
lights are also featured, particularly over the sink area. Pollock
also added xenon undercounter lighting, making the work surfaces
very bright without disturbing the room’s ambiance.

Working Layout
“Part of having a good kitchen
is to have a room off of the kitchen that is nothing but a closet,”
Pollock emphasizes. While one side of the hearth features a doorway
that leads to the front of the house, the other side offers an
entry to an 8’x10′ room that is lined with shelves, from floor to

“Now you can store large amounts of items,” reports Pollock. “In
a large house like this, you just need to have a lot of
On the farthest wall opposite the cooktop is the entrance to a
breakfast room. The dining room is also located directly off of the
kitchen. Both rooms can be opened for entertaining a large number
of guests.

“The kitchen was designed with a strong dual function. It’s
[ideal for] entertaining, where the kitchen is a chef’s kitchen for
working a dinner party and you’d never know it’s there,” explains
Pollock. The other function is quite the opposite, he points out,
where the kitchen is the center of family gathering. “The room has
to function equally well in both roles, and it does.”

The flooring throughout the kitchen and the pantry area is in
keeping with the Cotswold cottage theme. “It’s a very rustic
limestone floor in irregular patterns that continues to the
breakfast room,” Pollock reports. “It unifies the breakfast room,
the kitchen, the hallway that leads to the butler’s server, and the
mud room.

“The flooring goes all through the back of the house everything
that in the old days would have been the service area but now could
also be called the family area,” Pollock explains. “Isn’t it funny
that we’ve become the maids and the butlers? What was once the
service area is where the family now lives.”

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